Yes, Ve-gan

Photo courtesy of Vegan Alien (for Animal Place's Vegan Republic). 

You know the yearly drill: When the holidays are over, all the workouts and healthy diets kick in. To help out with 2020 commitments to mindful eating in the new year, we’re unearthing more Bay Area restaurants armed with vegan options that ease the brain when it comes to both your love of animals and any fear of weight gain.

The days are gone when it was primarily the veggie burger that proved a restaurant was flexible, and today we’ve got expansive and innovative plant-based options left and right. Some of the following BARTable restaurants offer entire menus free of any animal assistance, while others have dedicated items catering to the strict plant-eater seeking choices when it comes to dairy-free cheeses and hearty vegan flavors.

Photo courtesy of Cuia.
 
Cuia
 
Sometimes fully known as Cuia Acai & Positive Food, the name says it all. Co-founders Guilherme Castro and Nicolas Oliveira have brought flavors of their Brazilian homes to San Francisco. Cuia is pronounced “coo-yah” and is a traditional Brazilian bowl used by villagers in the Amazon to carry water and grains—and the restaurant’s menu pays homage to long-revered Brazilian recipes. Full bowls of acai topped with fresh fruits and nuts, along with hefty smoothies, have found a home in Downtown SF. The quick counter-service locale welcomes plenty of vegan (and non-vegan) patrons. 
 
When: Monday-Friday, 8am-5:30pm
Where: 1 Market Plaza, San Francisco
Nearest station: Embarcadero
Walk time: Three minutes
Website: Cuia
Phone: (415) 988-4216
 
Photo courtesy of Lemat.
 
Lemat
 
Berkeley’s Lemat dishes up vegan and gluten-free Ethiopian food in a classy, cozy space on Adeline Street. Spongey injera bread topped with vibrant sauces and stews are a scene-stealer, served amidst an alluring environment filled with raw woods and an endless array of traditional, woven Ethiopian baskets. A fun tip for your next culinary adventure here: Catch live jazz on Fridays and Mondays for a complete evening out in this warm and welcoming restaurant. 
 
When: Monday-Friday, 5-10pm | Saturday, 11:30am-10pm
Where: 3212 Adeline Street, Berkeley 
Nearest station: Ashby
Walk time: Five minutes
Website: Lemat
Phone: (510) 430-2717
 
Photo courtesy of Nick's On Mission.
 
Nick’s On Mission
 
Purely plant-based Filipino food is the call at Nick’s On Mission, which opened November 2019. Lumpia with sweet ‘n’ sour sauce, coconut milk curries, mushroom and tofu sisig. The substitutes in these vegan takes on traditional plates sacrifice the meat but keep the tasty flavors intact. Located on Mission near downtown and SoMA, Nick’s is convenient for the luncher looking for an alternative to the usual vegetarian menus. 
 
When: Monday-Saturday, 7am-3pm 
Where: 996 Mission Street, San Francisco
Nearest station: Civic Center/UN Plaza
Walk time: Seven minutes
 
Photo courtesy of The Lettuce Inn.
 
The Lettuce Inn
 
Farm-fresh organic ingredients make up the recipes at The Lettuce Inn, where co-founder Karen Bell is at the helm of the Concord vegan go-to. Raw food and leafy greens are a primary part of the menu, which features vegan tacos and burritos, colorful salads, collard wraps, and nori rolls. Craving a quick vegan snack? Try a stuffed avocado with cashew cheese and sunflower seed pate. 
 
When: Monday-Friday 8am-5:30pm
Where: 2115 Pacheco Street, Concord
Nearest station: Concord
Walk time: 10 minutes
Phone: (925) 338-9636
 
Photo courtesy of Eternal. 
 
Eternal
 
What started out as a lunch operation inside Donut Farm’s vegan kitchen eventually turned into its own dedicated location known as Eternal, from the Donut Farm operation (famous for its vegan cake donuts you see around town. Donut Farm’s Josh Levine, who also founded local indie all-ages venue 924 Gilman, is the man behind the Bay Area favorite. Jackfruit nachos, Eternal Burgers, and organic tofu omelettes are some of the staples on the vegan brunch menu in Oakland. 
 
When: Monday-Sunday, 9am-3pm
Where: 247 4th Street, Oakland 
Nearest station: Lake Merritt
Walk time: Eight minutes
Website: Eternal
Phone: (510) 920-0836
 
Photo courtesy of Yelp! Veggie Today. 
 
Veggie Today
 
Every day is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly at this casual Concord restaurant, whose specialty is meatless Asian fare. Vegan takes on classic dishes from the Orient mean you can get your favorite Vietnamese pho, bun bo hue, and eggrolls with all-veggie substitutes. While the menu still has “chicken,” “beef,” and “seafood” options—each is constructed with eerily real-looking meatless replacements. Vegan drumsticks? At Veggie Today, you won’t feel like you’re missing out for leaving behind the meat. 
 
When: Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-3pm, 5-9pm | Friday-Sunday, 11am-9pm 
Where: 1909 Salvio Street, Concord
Nearest station: Concord
Walk time: 11 minutes
Website: Veggie Today
Phone: (925) 609-9434
 
Photo courtesy of Animal Place's Vegan Republic. 
 
Animal Place’s Vegan Republic
 
If you want to live as a vegan, Berkeley is that rare kind of city where you can almost feel like “the norm” for doing so. Take Animal Place’s Vegan Republic as an example. Inside this multifaceted vegan mecca, awaits a vegan shopper’s delight: specialty foods (vegan bacon!), snacks, personal care, and wearable accessories are all free of animal products. Hungry in the moment and not wanting to wait till you get home? You can also catch a vegan popup here—enjoy fresh plates like Vegan Alien’s meat-free tacos and cauliflower ceviche. 
 
When: Monday-Saturday, 10am-7pm | Sunday, 12-6pm 
Where: 1624 University Avenue, Berkeley 
Nearest station: North Berkeley
Walk time: Nine minutes
Phone: (510) 280-5778
 
Photo courtesy of Yelp! Red Tomato Pizza House. 
 
Red Tomato Pizza House
 
Pizza in a neighborhood near college kids a no-brainer. Vegan pizza in a neighborhood near college kids in Berkeley garners a pretty high score. While the meaty, cheesy classics still prevail at Red Tomato Pizza House, there are also options for the animal lovers at the party. Vegan cheese, pesto sauce, and veggie toppings on a gluten-free, vegan crust make up the vegan-friendly whole pies at this Downtown Berkeley pizza joint.
 
When: Monday-Saturday, 10:30am-9pm
Where: 2017 University Avenue, Berkeley 
Nearest station: Downtown Berkeley
Walk time: Five minutes
Phone: (510) 845-6666

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Keep up with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see all of the best BARTable events, places to eat and have fun around the Bay. Checking out any of these vegan spots? Let us know via social media, @SFBARTable #SFBARTable for your chance to be featured on our community wall on our homepage. 
 

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